Shichi-go-san is a festival celebrated on November 15 to mark the growth of a child as they turn three, five and seven years old. In Japan, these ages are considered critical in a child’s life. Particularly, at the age of seven, a young girl celebrates wearing her first obi, while at the age of five a young boy celebrates wearing his first hakama pants in public. The age of three marks the first time where both boys and girls are allowed to let their hair grow.
Typically Westerners are not allowed to participate in Japanese ceremonies. However in Kobe, a special ceremony has been arranged just for the "gainjin" children when they turn three, five and seven. Sami was so excited to be able to participate this year as she turned seven in June.
The boys wear haori jackets and hakama trousers, while the girls wear a special ceremonial kimono. We had to be at the temple at 8:30 am for Sami is be dressed by one of the Japanese helpers. It took about 20-25 minutes for them to get her dressed in the kimono.
All Sami could say when she was done being dressed was that she couldn't breathe or sit.
We had almost 90 minutes before the ceremony so we walked around the temple grounds taking pictures.
The funniest part of the day was watching all the Japanese people take pictures of us. I felt like we were famous and they were the paparazzi. Sami was even interviewed for two TV channels. Imagine how that went considering the language barrier.
The ceremony began at 10 am. The kids filed into the temple after drums sounded. We really didn't understand what was going on, but it was pretty interesting to watch.
You can see many more pictures here.